Author Topic: Drone Debate  (Read 4151 times)

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2013, 03:25:04 PM »
~70 years ago, the bombing of London and Dresden - neither were tried as war crimes. Last significant carpet bombing of a major city - Operations Linebacker and Linebacker II 1972.

re: Dresden.  The winner of a war usually does not get tried for war crimes. 

I think you and I are saying similar things.  To clarify, my intention was not to say that aerial bombardment is a war crime in and of itself nor that aerial bombardment is equivalent to "kill everyone".  My point, supported by your examples, is that aerial bombardment itself does not win the war.  The bombings of London and Dresden were both intended to "break" the enemy.  They didn't.  You need a bombing like Hiroshim to do that. 

And I don't think that would even work in pakistan, afghanistan or any other stan.  The people we are killing live in sparsely populated areas and seem to just want us out of their lives.  I think if we just left, that would solve a lot of the conflict.

Following the discussions of "How can we make this more effective, we have smart bombs and missiles capable of striking to within 5 metres at 1000 miles.

Yes, but if they are pointed at the wrong things - as they so often are - they do little good and very much harm the effort of "winning".

War consists of both sides telling the other, "Stop it!" One usually comes out on top.

Agreed.  But at some point you have to ask if the cure is worse than the illness.  If our tactics keep creating more enemies than they eliminate, then what good are they?  If the goal is perpetual war, then mission accomplished. 

I'm not sure what this constant reference to children is - are they somehow more valuable than non-combatants in general, the old, the sick, the perfectly fit who have evaded the draft? I'm old and I'd expect some concern if I were killed!

Brevity. 

I think we need to stop thinking war will fix the problems we have in the middle east.  There are people there whom we might like to kill and would make life easier for us if they were dead.  But I could say that about my neighborhood as well. 

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Offline Dante

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2013, 03:46:17 PM »
If the goal is perpetual war, then mission accomplished.  

I'm pretty sure that is the goal, at least among the defense contractors, and their lobbyists. There are, and have been for decades, alot of people getting very rich in the militaristic weapons industry.

No war = no $600 toilet seats = no money.
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2013, 04:09:23 PM »
^^^^This. It used to be illegal to be a war profiteer. Now it is just good bidness practice.

The drone strikes are tragic. We are only getting away with this sh!t  because of our superpower status. And the fact that we are doing it to brown people nobody cares about. But we won't be the big bullies on the block forever. When China, India (or Russia or Iran) decides to send a few drone attacks our way, we will act like the world had ended. Because for, us, it will have.

BTW The attacks on civilians in Pakistan under the guise of fighting terrorism is creating more hatred for us around the world. I work with young people from these areas and they think our government is incredibly stupid. They like the US and want to understand us. But they can't figure out why our response to so many things is to bomb and kill a bunch of people, just like the terrorists.

Also, this is why I say that, although President Obama is actually a conservative to the right of President Nixon, there are so many people in politics today even farther out there that he (Obama) seems thoughtful and reasonable, ie, liberal, by comparison.[1] The Republicans would have skipped the drones and used nuclear weapons on Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran by now.  And we would be living in a Mad Max zombie apocalypse. Given all that, GOBAMA! &)
 1. It makes me crazy when people say the health care bill is socialist or a government takeover. Obamacare is Romneycare. It was proposed originally by Bob Dole in the 1990's as the conservative alternative to the far more liberal Hillarycare. And even the Clinton health plan was far short of universal Medicare-- what is customary in Europe or Canada. 
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline sun_king

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #32 on: February 12, 2013, 05:54:51 PM »
^^^^This. It used to be illegal to be a war profiteer. Now it is just good bidness practice.

The drone strikes are tragic. We are only getting away with this sh!t  because of our superpower status. And the fact that we are doing it to brown people nobody cares about. But we won't be the big bullies on the block forever. When China, India (or Russia or Iran) decides to send a few drone attacks our way, we will act like the world had ended. Because for, us, it will have.

The US is not the only nation using drones, Canada operates a few in the region under discussion. Israel uses drones when required. And its not just against brown people, drones were used in Serbia, Columbia is using it. I feel that most people have started seeing it as a terminator of followers of a certain religion. It is a weapon system, it is not designed to kill by pigmentation or religion.

Quote
BTW The attacks on civilians in Pakistan under the guise of fighting terrorism is creating more hatred for us around the world. I work with young people from these areas and they think our government is incredibly stupid. They like the US and want to understand us. But they can't figure out why our response to so many things is to bomb and kill a bunch of people, just like the terrorists.

And ask why so many wanted terrorists walk freely in Pakistan, and why are some of them given protection? What does aiding and abetting criminals make you (not you nogodsforme)?  Its either surgical strikes or all out war, the Reapers and the Predators have reduced the collateral damage when compared to the Tomahawks.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2013, 06:51:49 PM »
^^^Pakistan is a failed state where the government cut a deal to leave the terrorists alone if they kept their hands off the nukes. I might have made that deal, too. Maybe you would not have made that deal....and we would now have a nuclear armed Taliban.

And, as Quesi pointed out, we helped to create the whole mess to begin with by gathering, arming and training the wannabee terrorists from all over the Muslim world, so they would fight the commie Soviets in Afghanistan. Right next door to Pakistan.

Afghanistan was a civilized and developed country in the 1970's under the Soviet influence. Women went to college and studied law and medicine. The Soviets built hospitals and schools--the average Afghans were far better off back then. My Afghan students have photos of grandma in college wearing a bikini in the 1970's.

But we hated the commies so much that we created the Taliban and Al Qaeda to kick their a$$es. And then the Taliban turned around and kicked the a$$es of all the modern people in Afghanistan and Al Qaeda took the jihad back to their own countries. Now women have to wear burkas and hide from the religious police.

Everyone in the Muslim world, modern or traditional, is angry at the US now, and these guys are shooting at our troops with the same weapons we gave them in the 80's. What goes around comes around. :(

Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline void of gods crutch

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #34 on: February 13, 2013, 01:39:37 AM »
i'm exhausted just trying to read all that and catch up. all i can say, is sometimes killing is the answer. as distasteful as that may sound, it's the truth. is it always the answer, no, of course not. though i'm all for capitol punishment, only wish they could make it happen sooner so our tax dollars aren't wasted on feeding criminals making them too fat to hang. sentenced to death? step right out this back door, up against a fence where the rest of the prisoners can watch you take one to the head. i'm happy to donate a few boxes of ammo..how many could possibly be on deathrow?! could be a few less if we're lucky! anyway i digress...
it sounds like you found the perfect job for someone as anal as yourself screw, and i mean that in a good way. i bet you don't let anyone get away with squat, cause someone could poke an eye out. you check shoelaces when you come in, make sure there's no trip hazards?
i think that you can have accidents. or at least be in them when it's not your fault something bad happened to you. i've been hit by a car when it wasn't my fault, nothing i did wrong. just sideblinded. shit happens. i happened to live thru that one. who knows about the next. people get bombed when it's not their fault, shit happens. bad things happen to good people screw, every day, all day long, that's life. been goin on since we thought of the word war. that will never, ever change in our life time. know why? cause shit happens, and that's life. times of war are population control at it's finest, almost as popular as abortions & tsunami's. but much, much, much more expensive and with world leaders to blame..errr thank.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 01:46:39 AM by void of gods crutch »
5/4 ths of all people have a problem with fractions

Offline screwtape

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #35 on: February 13, 2013, 09:00:11 AM »
it sounds like you found the perfect job for someone as anal as yourself screw, and i mean that in a good way. i bet you don't let anyone get away with squat, cause someone could poke an eye out. you check shoelaces when you come in, make sure there's no trip hazards?

I'm not anal.  It is company policy.  And I do not know how this personal attack supports your opinions.  I've tried to not make this a personal discussion.  I'm not always successful at that, so if I've said something that came across personally, I apologize. I did not mean to.

If I didn't and this is just how you react when facing the prospect that some of your opinions are wrong, then shame on you.   

i think that you can have accidents...

We're not talking about the same thing at all.  You are talking about how not everything is within our control.  True, dat.  However, I do not see how that is related to the idea of using drones to assassinate foreigners and their families.


 
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #36 on: February 13, 2013, 12:13:25 PM »

10 civilians killed today.  BTW- all adult men who are killed are always combatants.  The only civilians are women and children.  By definition. 


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/13/nato-air-strike-civilians-afghanistan

If the Afghani people could just look at the big picture, and stop being so attached to their dead family members, I'm pretty sure they would understand that our war on terror (which is currently being staged on their land) is really for the greater good. 


Offline sun_king

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #37 on: February 13, 2013, 12:48:11 PM »
It looks more like an airstrike than a drone attack.

4 or 5 insurgents dead.

Can we discuss the alternatives here?
Reality: There is an enemy (there is no point in discussing how the enemy was born, that is a thing of the past.)
Reality: The enemy will kill and or destroy anything they perceive as their enemy, foreign or domestic without compunction. (again, why they would want to do so may not be applicable to this topic, perhaps another thread)

Objective: Contain the enemy
Action: Peaceful negotiations
Action: Use of deadly force
Action: Abandon posts and leave the area and hope that original inhabitants will resolve[1] their differences

If you are in charge, what would you do Quesi and Screwtape? We don't have a time machine to undo the past
 1. Probable genocide in the offing

Offline screwtape

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2013, 02:07:24 PM »
Can we discuss the alternatives here?

Sure.

4 or 5 insurgents dead.

alternative: 4 or 5 males (age unspecified) dead.  Labeled insurgents by virtue of the fact that they are males (age unspecified) and we killed them.  Kinda like defining torture as "something we don't do", thus any torture we do cannot be torture, since that makes it definition, not torture.  "Insurgent" has kind of be redefined as "a guy we killed".

there is no point in discussing how the enemy was born, that is a thing of the past.

It strikes me as emminently important to know how the enemy was born (if there even is an enemy).  Understanding the enemy - what he wants and why - present options for what victory can look like.  It does not necessarily have to be the death of one or the other of us.  If all he wants is US soldiers out of his valley, then I see a win-win opportunity.

"If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles"
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
- Sun Tzu

It seems to me we have never known or understood our enemy.  Or at least, never had a clear idea of what "victory" was or when we could stop fighting.  Are we supposed to fight as long as someone on the planet uses the name "al qaeda" for himself? 

Objective: Contain the enemy

That's vague.  I don't know what that means.  If you mean "prevent all attacks on the US forever", you are shit out of luck.  That is as achieveable as preventing all car accidents.  Given the proliferation technology successful attacks are inevitable.  Kill everyone else in the world and we would still have domestic terrorists.  Perhaps after we hit peak petroleum and travel for the masses becomes economically unfeasible, that will help curtail foreign non-state attacks.  If they cannot get out of Swat Valley, they cannot hurt us.

Until I know what you mean I cannot accept or reject your options, though I do find them limiting on face value.

If you are in charge, what would you do Quesi and Screwtape? We don't have a time machine to undo the past

Exactly whom are we talking about?  Afghanistan?  Pakistan?  Yemen?  Somalia?  Al qaeda (whatever that means)?

Generally speaking, our ME problems are of our own making.  As a start I would...
  • severely curtail the assassination-by-drone program
  • pull all our troops out of iraq, afghanistan, etc.
  • Stop trying to have puppet governements.  In the long run, they hurt us.  See Iran.
  • stop trying to promote democracy.  most people don't have it because they are not ready for it.  heck, I hardly think the US is ready for it anymore.
  • revoke corporate personhood
  • cease torture
  • cease covert operations
  • try to reform the monolithic intelligence community to make them actual intelligence gathering entities
  • cease all financial and military support for Israel
  • broker a fair resolution for the palestinians.
  • de-garrison the planet.  we have expensive military bases everywhere.  Why?  To "project power".  That seems unnecessarily hostile to me.


 
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Offline sun_king

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #39 on: February 13, 2013, 03:18:18 PM »
4 or 5 insurgents dead.
alternative: 4 or 5 males (age unspecified) dead.  Labeled insurgents by virtue of the fact that they are males (age unspecified) and we killed them.  Kinda like defining torture as "something we don't do", thus any torture we do cannot be torture, since that makes it definition, not torture.  "Insurgent" has kind of be redefined as "a guy we killed".
Maybe it is too early to state if they were bad guys. They are bound to release a few names soon enough, maybe we can pick this up later.

But, assume there was one bad guy there, would you risk sending your ground troops in an effort to apprehend him/her? Would you risk your intelligence assets to stakeout the place and confirm he/she is the one you are looking for? Or would you let him be and plan his next attack on you?
there is no point in discussing how the enemy was born, that is a thing of the past.

It strikes me as emminently important to know how the enemy was born (if there even is an enemy).  Understanding the enemy - what he wants and why - present options for what victory can look like.  It does not necessarily have to be the death of one or the other of us.  If all he wants is US soldiers out of his valley, then I see a win-win opportunity.

"If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles"
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
- Sun Tzu

It seems to me we have never known or understood our enemy.  Or at least, never had a clear idea of what "victory" was or when we could stop fighting.  Are we supposed to fight as long as someone on the planet uses the name "al qaeda" for himself? 
Drones discussion sir, we need not really worry about the enemy and the politics involved. The drone can be used in Serbia, Israel, Columbia. In this case the drone is a combat method. Ground assault, carpet bombing, artillery, smart bombs are other methods. Thats why I insisted on the present, enemy is there, you know how he was born, you know how you can win[1] You send in your assets at this point.
Objective: Contain the enemy

That's vague.  I don't know what that means.  If you mean "prevent all attacks on the US forever", you are shit out of luck.  <snipped for brevity>
Until I know what you mean I cannot accept or reject your options, though I do find them limiting on face value.
 1. Or you think you can
Possible, if willing to take the step, example Japan.
Containment has its usual meanings, means prevent spreading. In this case, not allowing to be organized and hence remain contained as small, less dangerous units. When the enemies primary motive is survival, counterattack is less of a threat. I used containment, not annihilation.
If you are in charge, what would you do Quesi and Screwtape? We don't have a time machine to undo the past

Exactly whom are we talking about?  Afghanistan?  Pakistan?  Yemen?  Somalia?  Al qaeda (whatever that means)?
Wherever the drones are being used, the ME is an example.
Generally speaking, our ME problems are of our own making.  As a start I would...
  • severely curtail the assassination-by-drone program
  • pull all our troops out of iraq, afghanistan, etc.
  • Stop trying to have puppet governements.  In the long run, they hurt us.  See Iran.
  • stop trying to promote democracy.  most people don't have it because they are not ready for it.  heck, I hardly think the US is ready for it anymore.
  • revoke corporate personhood
  • cease torture
  • cease covert operations
  • try to reform the monolithic intelligence community to make them actual intelligence gathering entities
  • cease all financial and military support for Israel
  • broker a fair resolution for the palestinians.
  • de-garrison the planet.  we have expensive military bases everywhere.  Why?  To "project power".  That seems unnecessarily hostile to me.
I will just be brief about 1 and 2 in this list, the rest seems to be more ideological, no offense, I too would want them to be so (except the degarrison).
1 -- You risk your men and women's lives as they do the same things the drone has been doing. Your people's lives.
2 -- If in Afghanistan, the same enemy will kill in thousands, the same people whom you dont want to be collateral damage. That wouldn't be morally correct.

Drones bring in less deaths when compared to the same objective accomplished by other practical means. Its not like we have the drones, we go there and use it. Its we are there, we have it, we use it.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #40 on: February 13, 2013, 04:05:50 PM »
But, assume there was one bad guy there, would you risk sending your ground troops in an effort to apprehend him/her?

I don't have enough information.  It depends on the bad guy.  It depends on the environment.  It depends on who's troops.  If I had a better relationship with the local government, maybe I could get their police to do it for me, causing less damage.[1]  If not, then yes, if the bad guy is worth it. 

I'm sorry to have to hedge this way, but I think these questions assume a lot.  A lot of the decision making depends on so many other variables.

Would you risk your intelligence assets to stakeout the place and confirm he/she is the one you are looking for? Or would you let him be and plan his next attack on you?

I don't have enough information. How valuable is the bad guy?  If he's valuable enough, then yes, I risk an asset.  That is what they are for.  If he's Mo Shmo, then no, and I have to wonder whether he's plans are anything more than pipe dreams.


Drones discussion sir, we need not really worry about the enemy and the politics involved.

I thought we did need to worry about the politics.  For me, It's not about drones.  It's about policy.  Drones are just weapons.  A weapon is a weapon is a weapon, mostly.  I have no bug about the equipment.  There is as much inherently wrong with a drone as there is with an F-16. 

The question is how they are used.  I question the policies and especially the intelligence.  If that was not what you were talking about, then I beg your pardon.  We were not on the same page.

Thats why I insisted on the present, enemy is there, you know how he was born, you know how you can win[2] You send in your assets at this point.
 2. Or you think you can

Ah, it looks like we were on very different pages. 

Given a set of theoretical premises that we know these things, that changes the equation.  Given all that stuff, yes, use drones.  Ultimately, they will perform better than people.  A PLC does not black out or red out under high G turns.

I think we may disagree on the real world premises.  I'm not convinced we know who the bad guys are.  I'm not sure whe know much.  And I have a hard time believing our particular problems are ones we can kill our way out of.  As I said before, if killing one guy is going to create 20 more enemies, then I think we are using the wrong approach.

the rest seems to be more ideological, no offense,

No offense taken.  But I see them as practical and not ideological.  Sadaam was a monster we created.  Maybe he was inevitable in the region, but he didn't have to belong to us.  Osama was also a monster we created.  And I think it is doubtful he would have been inevitable without CIA training.  Our role in the Israel/Palestine situation is something that really sticks in the craw of muslims world wide, so I see rectifying that as an actual practical solution. 

I try to not be ideological.  I'm not always successful.  But I try to seek in actual solutions, not platitudes.

You risk your men and women's lives as they do the same things the drone has been doing. Your people's lives.
 

As I said before, I'm not convinced the people who are being assassinated actually need to be assassinated.  It is less about how they are assassinated to me.  Are they killed because they are a threat to Afghan operations, or is it because they are a threat to the actual US?  I dunno.  I suspect the former.  And if killing them with their families is a bigger negative than not killing them, I don't see the point.   

If in Afghanistan, the same enemy will kill in thousands, the same people whom you dont want to be collateral damage. That wouldn't be morally correct.

I object to the civilian deaths for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost, I think it undermines our objectives of creating a stable, friendly government.  While I do think of it in moral terms as well, frankly, they are not my tribe.  At some point my national interest trumps theirs.   

I think after 12 years and $600+ Billion if we have not been able to solve the problem, we're not going to solve it. We failed.  Horribly.

Last, I'm not sure we owe Afghans anything other than to leave them alone.

 1. I know, I know, and if frogs had wings, they wouldn't bump their ass a'hoppin'
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Offline sun_king

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #41 on: February 13, 2013, 05:00:22 PM »
Screwtape, its true, we are on different pages, maybe even different books.

I would agree that its better that we stay out of most conflicts. This goes with my favorite saying "A superior pilot uses his superior judgment to avoid situations which require the use of his superior skills"

Two decades ago we (India) went to meddle with the Srilankan-Tamil conflict and ended up getting bruised and one gruesome assassination.

What I was saying that, once we got in, then the drones may allow waging war with lesser loss of lives. An F-16 has one pilot who is put in harms way, not so for the drone.

Offline Truth OT

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #42 on: February 13, 2013, 06:10:01 PM »

How would you suggest the containment of the enemy is to be handled? The threat is undeniable, action is inevitable.


I need more evidence than the politicians' propaganda and media sensationalism to prove this above sentiment to be a reality that merits constant military vigilance.

A great formula for creating future enemies and generating understandable hatred of the USA is for our/the government's military industrial complex to keep weapons that occupy lands and pose a violent threat visible in the lives of young impressionable minds.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #43 on: February 13, 2013, 06:51:51 PM »
Yeah.  I'm on a really different page too. 

I’m not really sure I embrace this whole concept of an “enemy.”  There are a diverse bunch of folks out there who embrace concepts that appall me, and some of them would like see me and you and everyone else we care about dead, and some of them have legitimate gripes against my government and some of them really have very little concept of the world outside of their immediate realities, and they are just angry. 

Yeah.  I don’t think that I agree that there is AN ENEMY.  There are lots of people who I don’t like, and lots of people who present a danger.  Like the guy driving a black sedan in my neighborhood, who, in the past few weeks, has been trying to pull pre-teen girls into his car at 7:00 AM while they are on their way to school.  Is there AN ENEMY in my neighborhood?  No.  There is a criminal.  A nasty, horrible criminal.  If he comes near my daughter, I’ll castrate him myself.  But I don’t think that my neighborhood should plot to blow up all the black sedans in the neighborhood.

There were a group of angry, insane criminals who flew planes into buildings in my city.   Bin Laden was a brilliant, charismatic, crazy cult leader, managed to get gobs of people to buy into his private anger and insanity.  He had much more in common with Jim Jones than with the Taliban.   Yeah.  Al Qaeda works with the Taliban.  Hides in Taliban territory.  And enjoys the fundamentalist indignation.  But privileged, educated al Qaeda does not share anything more than fundamentalism and anger with the Taliban.   

The Taliban are a reactionary subset of a specific ethnic group (the Pashtuns) who reside in a region which has been screwed over by foreigners for as long as anyone can remember.  Many of the Taliban leaders, like the people who they attempt to rule and coerce, are illiterate.  They can’t read a map.  They don’t even understand that they live on a globe.   Many of them collaborated with Bin Laden.  But they are a very different breed.  They are no threat to us.  They are not going to fly planes into buildings.  But I do consider them a threat to the Afghan people.  And as a humanist, I support the human rights of those Afghanis whose lives have been limited by the Taliban.  The solution is education.  And the Taliban will become irrelevant. 

Somalia?  Poor Somalia is the canary in the goal mine in terms of global warming.  And of course they’ve been using their love of god as an excuse to alter their borders with their neighbors for a very long time.  And then there is the issue of mining rights inside of other countries borders.  Mix in a little xenophobia, a little Islam, some ethnic disputes, and a lot of pain and hunger, and you’ve got all kinds of folks ripe to die and kill in the name of some cause.  The solution?  Ummm… end global warming, find beneficial economic enterprises for the Somalis to pursue within their own national borders, find a way to feed starving people.  Education again.  Heal ethnic tensions. 

Or maybe just send in drones. 
Al Qaeda is tougher still.  Decentralized cells of angry individuals.  The vast majority are not skilled enough, and don’t have access to the resources necessary to pull off attacks like that of the Cole or 9/11.  But some are skilled at spreading their anger and creed.   Dropping drones and killing lots of folks helps their cause by justifying their anger.  Let’s not help their cause and justify their anger.  I don’t know all that much about the institution itself, but I’m pretty sure that in the absence of Bin Laden, there is no single individual who is crucial to the survival of the infrastructure.  Their strength is their decentralization.  So I would hope that the intelligence community is gathering information on cells and what they are doing, and which ones have the potential for danger beyond recruitment.  And then our government should work with the government in which those cells operate to help cut off their access to resources and influence, and if possible, bring criminal charges against them on a local level.  Obviously, not all countries are going to be as accommodating as we might like. 

And there might be more attacks.    Just like there might be more guys trying to abduct pre-teen girls after they catch the guy in the black sedan.   And there might be more traffic deaths.  Let’s work together to try and prevent any danger to human life that is preventable. 

But let’s not pretend that when our drones or airstrikes kill innocent people, that our actions are justified. 

Oh.  And let's do all the stuff on Screwtape's list. 

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #44 on: February 13, 2013, 07:56:28 PM »
I can't help but think about how the whole world had to change after the attacks in the US on 9/11. We were so shocked and horrified that we could not imagine any reasonable explanation for what happened. And we would not rest until we responded.

But then, some ten years later we are spending money we do not have bombing impoverished neighborhoods, killing and maiming hundreds of people in poor countries. Just giving angry disenfranchised people fewer reasons to be peaceful and more reasons to plot future 9/11's.

Because you can be peaceful and minding your own business and the US or some other country drops a bomb on your community, supposedly to get rid of some random bad guy who might be planning an attack. Someday, when China or Iran or Russia does drone strikes on US military bases or US-friendly foreign dissidents or armed "terror cells" in the US, and kills a few hundred random American unfortunates, what will our reaction be? A shoulder shrug and a few words about collateral damage?

Because we seem to forget that everyone else loves their kids just as much as we do.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #45 on: February 13, 2013, 09:53:29 PM »
  • stop trying to promote democracy.  most people don't have it because they are not ready for it.  heck, I hardly think the US is ready for it anymore.

You know, I really am a champion of democracy.  Rule of the people.  I believe in the concept. 

But when I think about women in Afghanistan, they really got screwed over by "democracy." 

Here is the Pashtun Queen of Afghanistan, Soraya Tarzi.  I'm guessing this photo is 1930's. 



Some might argue that she is clearly under the influence of western culture.  And that is a valid concern in a country that suffered from colonization.  But a huge percentage of Pashtun people today think the burqua is part of their history and tradition, and they are unaware of the powerful, progressive Muslim Queen who lead their country.



In the waning years of the monarchy, Afghani women pursued education and professional careers.




Also in the waning years of the monarchy, (1950's and 60's)  there was infrastructure.  Lots of women wore hijabs, but their lives were not restricted.



Then there was communism.  And wars.  And then democracy. 

Just a few decades after we brought democracy to Afghanistan, this was the result.



The sad irony is that the Pashtun people were once renown poets and musicians.  Now, the vast majority are illiterate, and music is banned by the Taliban.  But here is a video of an elderly poet and musician, doing what she did in her youth.  Dressing beautifully, creating music (in the company of men!), and promoting her cultural traditions.   In the generations that followed, there would be no young women to carry the torch. 



I know that this has nothing to do with drones.  But we, the US, have contributed to the downfall of these people over the decades.  And now we are dropping drones on their houses?  Haven't we done enough? 

Offline screwtape

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #46 on: February 14, 2013, 08:46:30 AM »
You know, I really am a champion of democracy.  Rule of the people.  I believe in the concept. 

I'm not.  People for the most part are morons.  When morons rule, you get moronic decisions, moronic policies and a terrible nation. 

Democracy has requirements.  IF your nation does not meet those requirements, you end up with a fricken mess, not democracy.  For example, one requirement is that you have a nation with people who have good decision making abilities.  That requires education, engagement and a whole mess of other things.  India does not have that.  As a result, they are a mess. 

Afghanistan has none of the requirements.  Trying to institute a democracy there will be (has been) an utter failure. And it will always be until they meet the requirements.

Pakistan has none of the requirements.  They are a fricken mess.  Part of their problem is they are too stupid to get along with India.  As a result, they spend more money on their military than anything else that might help them make a country worth living in.   

Iraq currenly has few of the requirements.  Their government is a mess.  I'd say they had a shot at it, but right now, there is too much religion.  Religion kills democracy.

Russia lacks certain requirements, like a tradition of self rule.  They have a tradition of autocratic strong men whether Bolshevik Czars,  or Soviet premiers.  Thus, when the USSR fell and they had a choice, ultimately, they went back to a strongman - Putin.  Democracy there is not Democracy.

I think the US is slipping below some of those requirements.  We are becoming a mess.  Too many stupid people, too much religion. Look at Louisiana.  It is like a third world nation.  They re-elected David Vitter as their senator, for chrissakes.  Idiots.  I wouldn't care so much about the stupid things they do to themselves, but they send idiots like Vitter to congress to help make national policy. 

Unfortunately, most of the alternatives to democracy are not so great either.  I am an elitist, so I think ideally, you would have some kind of enlightened dictatorship.  Enlightened dictators are tough to find, since most people who would be dictators in the first place are not all that enlightened.  However, I would make an excellent dictator.  I'm great at telling people what to do.  And I enjoy it.  So, you know, if you want someone to rally your revolution around, I'm available.

But when I think about women in Afghanistan, they really got screwed over by "democracy." 

I don't think they got screwed by democracy. They got screwed by a religious/cultural tyranny.

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #47 on: February 14, 2013, 09:40:32 AM »
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #48 on: February 14, 2013, 11:47:32 AM »
Bill Moyers tells a drone story that clearly shows the one of the problems. Especially when used in countries we are not at war with. In this case Somalia Yemen.

A muslim cleric spoke out against al qaeda in services on a Sunday. On the following Tuesday he made arrangements to meet with some al qaeda leaders to negotiate with them. His timing was terrible. He and his aide were blown to pieces along with the al qaeda guys during the meeting, by a drone.

Which pissed off his whole mosque. Who do you think those people are more pissed at. The al qaeda guys or the US. How many suicide bombers did we recruit that day?

And screw, I agree about the democracy thing. Cultures have to work into it. You can't force freedom on folks. You can live by example (something the US is not doing. Right now muslim leaders are probably happy that we are becoming more like them with all the freedom-removing edicts we are getting from on high), and you can teach people how to make themselves more free over time. But especially in places used to theocracies, freedom similar to our ideal concept of the term is very foreign.

If we could magically disintegrate the North Korean leadership, how quickly do you think the people there could adapt to South Korean type freedom? It would take generations. Many in the former Eastern Bloc countries, as well as many in the former Soviet Union, had a hell of a time adjusting, and they at least knew the theory. Most North Koreans do not.

Baby steps folks. And a drone-free nursery would be kind of nice.

Added: Found a video of the story. Fixed country. I remembered it wrong.  And I failed to give credit to the NYT for the original story. Can't embed the video but it is on the page linked below.

http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2013/02/bill-moyers-on-the-downside-of-drones.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+3quarksdaily+%283quarksdaily%29
« Last Edit: February 14, 2013, 11:52:14 AM by ParkingPlaces »
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #49 on: February 14, 2013, 12:57:01 PM »
Which pissed off his whole mosque. Who do you think those people are more pissed at. The al qaeda guys or the US. How many suicide bombers did we recruit that day?

Is this a drone problem or an Intelligence problem? 

And I recall a similar story - virtually identical - that was back when we were in somalia.  Only in that earlier instance the hellfire missile was delivered by an cobra helicopter.[1]

I cannot be sure they were allies, and this link does not say they were.  I thought I saw a documentary some time ago that said that though.  Anyway, same situation, same problems, different weapon platform. 

And screw, I agree about the democracy thing.

I appreciate that.
 1. http://novaonline.nvcc.edu/eli/evans/his135/Events/Somalia93/Somalia93.html  paragraph "From june12-16..."
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #50 on: February 14, 2013, 06:13:31 PM »
Having worked with poor people in several different countries, I agree that it is hard for ignorant, illiterate, isolated people to make good decisions about their lives. But that does not mean that someone else who knows even less about those people would be better at running their lives for them. That is what European (and Japanese, US, etc) colonialism has been doing for the past 500 years, and it has not had a good track record.

Dictatorships are the most likely governments, historically. It is easy for one person to  have all the power and for everyone else to obey. Ideally, a benign dictator is the best ruler. A wise king, a great chief. But those are few and far between.

In reality, you get someone who does pretty well the first ten years or so (Trujillo, Peron, Castro, Chavez). Then the pressure and power become too much and the person goes nuts. Mass murder, torture and/or stealing the country blind generally follows (Stalin, Pol Pot, Mubarak, Marcos, Pinochet, Mobutu and on and on).

Sometimes the dictator can postpone a coup or being run out of town by starting a war with a neighbor (Saddam vs the Ayatollah).  Then, usually a few years of bloody civil war as the people who were screwed over most by the dictator take revenge on the dictator's friends and fight over resources (Congo, Somalia).

Chaos reigns, the infrastructure is destroyed, and foreigners say, "What those people need is a dictator to tell them what to do." &)

Democracy is rare, because it is hard, slow, inefficient and expensive. But it is still the best way to get closer to the kind of country people actually want to live in. People are unlikely to vote in favor of truly evil people or policies, and if they do they can change them. You can't swap out a dictator when you are tired of him.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline sun_king

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #51 on: February 14, 2013, 07:35:19 PM »
Having worked with poor people in several different countries, I agree that it is hard for ignorant, illiterate, isolated people to make good decisions about their lives.

Most decisions are not made entirely by the politicians in a democracy. The changes are effectively made by the bureaucracy which is selected based on their eligibility and competency. Essentially the ignorant, illiterate and isolated people make it known what they want when they elect their representative and these elected representatives entrust the bureaucracy to draft the changes. And there is always the judiciary that can ensure that the changes are acceptable.[1]

The elected ones usually make tall claims, but its the selected ones who actually define the policies. In most cases the elected ones are the popular ones, they may not be qualified to run a house, let alone a country.

 1. In an ideal world, no corruption, no selfish desires etc.

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #52 on: February 14, 2013, 07:37:56 PM »
Which pissed off his whole mosque. Who do you think those people are more pissed at. The al qaeda guys or the US. How many suicide bombers did we recruit that day?

Is this a drone problem or an Intelligence problem? 



It is probably both. First of all, having drones available to do the dirty work is kind of like having a Roomba. Just turn it on and hope that the mites and dust bunnies don't mind. Or the terrorist and non-terrorist victims, which ever they may be. It is so easy to kill its not even like work.

Then guessing that all people who terrorists talk to are also terrorists is not necessarily a safe assumption. An easy one, but not a safe one. If a terrorist comes to my house to borrow a hammer and I die, I'll be pissed. So telling a drone to zap folks without reasonable regard for possible innocent victims isn't a very nice thing to do.

And how much intelligence can a bunch of white guys hope to have re: Yemen. When people are guessing that drones will help and guessing where to shoot, there is precious little intelligence to call bad.

Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #53 on: February 14, 2013, 09:02:31 PM »
Well this has gotten to be a huge and fascinating conversation.

@Parkingplaces - Love the story.  I think it really illustrates how these attempts to kill bad guys often create more enemies than these bad guys could have created on their own. 

@nogodsforme - You so often say what I wish I had said. 

@Sunking - There are indeed many incompetent elected officials, and many of the biggest changes are in fact implemented and carried out by bureaucracies driven by hopes of self preservation rather than the greater good.

@Screwtape - We are certainly on the same page when it comes to many issues. But we clearly differ on our views of humanity.  I work with adult immigrants and refugees, and my program has a leadership development component and a community organizing component.  In my experience, in spite of the fact that many of the folks we work with have little formal education, I am often awed by the work that they do.  Now, they are not deciding who to throw missiles on.  It is local stuff most - community based.  Stuff they can really change.  They are prioritize issues, and then create campaigns around those issues, many of which have been really successful.  Increasing neighborhood park space, and creating an urban play street for kids has been a HUGE success.  The inclusion of low-income housing units in a development created on previously public land has also been a major victory.  Increasing bike lanes on various avenues.  Working with city agencies to decrease traffic problems by changing the direction of some one-way streets and re-routing some bus routes was also pretty big. 

I believe that people want to live in strong communities, and if given the opportunity, most folks will work to make their communities stronger.  Religion is creating at building and maintaining communities.  But if folks have secular causes, that improve the quality of their lives, they have less need for communities of god, and more reasons for communities of neighbors. 

No.  I don't think most people are morons.  I think most people have a lot of untapped potential. 

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #54 on: February 15, 2013, 06:05:51 PM »
^^^^Yes! Untapped potential and powerful forces that work very hard to keep people distracted, disorganized, angry and fighting about the wrong things. Like whether "evilution" and gay sex should be taught in schools, which foreigners to hate this week,  and whether Obama is a Muslim. &)
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #55 on: February 16, 2013, 08:42:45 PM »
I think most people have a lot of untapped potential.

I think that is generous of you, but tragically optimistic.  I think it also says something good about you.  You believe in people.  I am a cranky cynic and pessimist.  So while I can look at your belief in people and see it as a positive for you, I also see it as somewhat naive.

I used to think there was untapped potential in people.  If only they could do x instead of y, ho boy, then the world would be awesome.  But they didn't do x.  They did y.  But why didn't they do x?  It was because they couldn't.  Whether it was lack of vision, moral fiber, character, intelligence, skill, ambition, whatever.  They lacked a critical, necessary element that would have allowed them to do x and instead rendered them incapable. So the potential was never really there.  It was only an illusion that they could do x.  And that is what makes most people morons.  Large, talking apes that appear to be adults, with the mentality of five year olds.

People live up to their full potential, which is a colossal disappointment in most cases. 
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #56 on: February 16, 2013, 10:27:22 PM »
Yeah.  I've been called naïve before.  But I've been in war zones and I've worked with torture survivors and I've glimpsed an ugly side of humanity that most people haven't seen.  And I've seem amazing resilience too.  And sacrifice. 

You blame people for poor judgment.  Yeah.  A lot of people make dumb choices.  Most of us do, from time to time.  But we are products of our environment.  Our education and our community and our nutrition and our real and perceived fears.   We are often afraid of the wrong things.  We are afraid of not having enough possessions, and so we think nothing of the way the pursuit of wealth damages the planet.  And we rarely think about the way our greed directly impacts on the lives of human beings.  We are afraid of terrorists, so we think that it is ok to kill innocent people if we get rid of a few terrorists too.  We are afraid of the unknown, or the unfamiliar, and so we side with the familiar rather than the just. 

But I think when we are given good information, and asked to make a decision that is going to impact on our immediate world, our families or our neighborhoods or the larger communities we belong to, we usually do the right thing. 

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #57 on: February 17, 2013, 06:43:59 PM »
"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time."  Winston Churchill.

Whatever else you say about democracy, at least it can self-correct without requiring a civil war or a revolution.